- Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A woman is suing the city of St. Paul after she was bitten by a police dog more than two years ago.

Karen Shafer contends she was injured when the dog chased her as she ran toward her house and did not let go when ordered to by his handler.

The incident happened in July 2013. Shafer was in her backyard with friends when she heard noises across the street. When she looked over her fence she saw a stolen car had crashed into a tree. The suspect ran away, but Shafer says the police dog ran toward her and bit her.

Shafer filed a lawsuit against the city, seeking money to cover medical expenses, lost wages and emotional harm, the St. Paul Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/1W3nwHx ) reported.

Shafer questions the dog’s training and wonders why the alleged attack happened at all.

“I wonder why it happened the way it happened, when there were no suspects by me,” she said.

St. Paul police spokesman Steve Linders declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing active litigation. Linders confirmed that the dog, Rebel, still is on active duty, along with his partner, Officer Matthew Yunker.

Neither the officer nor the dog is named in the lawsuit.

According to Shafer, Yunker and a K9 unit supervisor accompanied her to the emergency room after the incident. The supervisor assured her that her medical costs would be covered, and someone from the department called to see how she was doing about a week later, she said.

Shafer’s attorney, Edward Risch, said the city has made an informal offer to settle the claim, “but we don’t’ think it’s enough.” A mediation session will be held this week, he said.

The dog bit Shafer on her hand, arm and leg. The injuries required 17 stitches and left significant scars, she and her attorney said.

“Truthfully, I’m thankful he didn’t bite my neck or face or that there weren’t any life-threatening injuries,” Shafer said. “But there was a lot of fear. I just wanted it to be over.”


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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